Christian Godwin

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Christian Godwin, 49, a fourth-generation newspaperman and copy editor on the Delaware State News in Dover, died Sept. 12, 2009, at Hospice of Queen Anne's in Centreville, Maryland, after a five-month battle with metastatic cancer. A celebration of Chris' life is scheduled for Oct. 12 in Chestertown, Md. His first cousin, the Rev. Caroline Keeney Meyers of Amherst, Mass., will conduct the service. A reception for all attending will be after the service. Christian was born May 9, 1960, in Miami, Fla. The son, grandson and great-grandson of daily newspaper editors in Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Anchorage, he began his career at age 14 in Alaska, as a copy boy for the Associated Press chief of bureau while still a student at East Anchorage High School. He attended the University of Alaska Anchorage, then became a reporter, and later a copy editor on The Anchorage Times. In the 1970s, Chris also was the baseball stadium announcer for the Anchorage Glacier Pilots. Knowing the players, many of whom became Major League stars and Hall of Fame members, was one of the bonuses, especially because the pay was almost nonexistent, he said. In the 1980s, he moved to Chestertown, Md., to attend Washington College before joining the staff of the Delaware State News in Dover. After a year-long bout recovering from Guillain-Barre syndrome at Delaware's Christiana Hospital, and a brief return to the State News, he had the opportunity to attend the state's flagship alcohol rehab program in Delaware City. He "graduated" after a year and remained committed to, and proud to be, a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, grateful to the state for providing the program. Known for his wry sense of humor, his depth of knowledge, particularly sports, the English language and history, Chris loved the news business. He couldn't imagine working anywhere else, he said. "Long days and fighting to make deadlines, particularly when big stories break two minutes before press time, can be crazy, scary and stressful," he said. "But when the presses roll and I have that first edition in my hands, I know it was all worth it. I forget how hard we worked. It's then that I feel like I was paid to play. But maybe we shouldn't tell the boss that." A prodigious reader, a music lover and a puzzle whiz, he carried on interesting correspondences with some of his favorite writers, including one with "Catch-22" author Joseph Heller. Heller's 1986 account, "No Laughing Matter," of his year spent, like Chris', recovering from Guillain-Barre paralysis, began a lively exchange that continued until the author died in December 1999. Chris is survived by his parents, Stuart and Connie Godwin of Chestertown, Md., both of whom started as copy boys on Washington, D.C., papers; his brother, Mark, now a lawyer, but a former copy editor and columnist in Anchorage; and his sister, Mary-Stuart Godwin O'Connor, now a teacher, who wrote sports stories for The Anchorage Times when she was in high school. Both live in Des Moines, Iowa. In addition, he has two nieces, Jessica Godwin Schroeder and Chloe O'Connor,also of Des Moines; and a nephew, Adam Godwin of Dalian, China. The family suggests those wishing to honor Chris send memorial contributions to Hospice of Queen Anne's, 255 Comet Drive, Centreville, MD 21617.

Published in Anchorage Daily News from Sept. 15 to Sept. 20, 2009